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Old 07-21-2008, 09:05 PM   #1
Naidirem
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Default Plan for a First Mead

Here is my plan for my first mead which I decided to try after spotting a local apiary at our farmer's market. Please correct or critique my plans as I have some mead anxiety. I have been brewing for about a year and this seems simpler but the patience factor has me concerned about not knowing if I futzed it for 6 months to a year.

Eqiupment:
1) 1 gal glass jug
2) Bung with bung hole
3) airlock
4) brewing, racking and bottling equip from homebrew set-up.

Ingredients:
1) 3 lbs of local honey. (Forgot to ask for a primary source of nectar but the cap has an 'A' and, after consulting Illinois' Beekeepers Assoc. website, I believe it is likely to be alfalfa.)
2) 1 package Danstar Nottingham yeast
3) Yeast energizer (forgot the specifics)
4) Tap water (our municipal has a clean taste)

Steps:
1) Mix honey with about 25% of the water and shake the hell out of it to mix.
2) Top off to some location on the jug (I still have to figure out where 1 gal is on the sucker. I take it I need some room for foam etc.)
3) Shake the heck out of it to aerate (5 mins or is this redundant since I have to shake it to mix the honey and water?)
4) Take a hydrometer reading (I am really bad about this in homebrewing and only miss bottle bombs because I have been lucky.)
5) Seal er up and put her in my fermentation closet (It is about ~72 Farenheit in there.)
6) Use the hydrometer to determine when fermentation is done.
7) Bottle and wait until I can no longer wait and then wait some more.

Is it wise to use Nottingham? My room temp might be a little high for its upper end. I thought it might be less dry using it but the mead calculator says I'll only get about 14-15% anyway which is in Nottingham's range. I do like high floc though.

If I am impatient, should I try 2 lbs in the 1 gal jug in order to get a product sooner?

Do I need a 2nd jug to rack to for bulk aging or is it okay to bottle and age in bottle?


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Old 07-21-2008, 09:25 PM   #2
jameswardpeterson
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the one thing your missing is nutrient. honey has tons of sugar for the yeast, but not the nutrients that it needs to live. I'm not the person to ask about how much to add though.
3lbs sounds about right for a mead to me, but it will need alot of aging.
Its best if you can use a secondary for this, since it helps the clearing. if you put it right into bottles, you will have sediment in the bottles. also it helps as a personal excuse to let it age longer. just put it somewhere and forget about it once its bottled.
good luck with it.


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Old 07-21-2008, 09:27 PM   #3
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I think you're right on track, but I'd either use D-47, or knock back to about 2 1/2 # honey just to make sure that you don't crap out your Notty and leave yourself with a cloying mead. I'm not really sure how Nottingham works in a mead, but it's great for cider, so I'm curious. I have a batch now that's got Windsor yeast, it started at like 1.086 I don't think I'd want to go a lot higher than that with Ale Yeast.
You will want a second jug for secondary and clearing. You won't want all that junk in your bottles, and the longer you bulk age, the less time you'll need to bottle age.

Your methodology is step by step my basic procedure. Don't miss the second go of shaking.
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:37 PM   #4
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You mostly have the right idea however a few suggestions:
First use Lalvin D-47 for your yeast. It is an inexpensive dry yeast and is great in meads. Nottingham would probably work but beer yeast is not as sure fire of a hit as a wine yeast.
Next with 3# of honey it should cause the yeast to stop before the honey is completely eaten. This will produce a sweet mead.
A second jug is a really good idea. You will want to transfer the mead off of the spent yeast after about a month. Then you can age it for about 6 months in the secondary. Many would recommend transferring it again after a few months as you will get some additional settling.
I you wait 6 months or more you should have no problem with renewed fermentation in the bottle but you can play it safe by using sorbate and sulphite in combination to stabilize the mead before bottling. I havn't bottled a sweet mead yet so I havn't looked into the opinions on the best choice here.

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Old 07-22-2008, 02:03 PM   #5
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Well I made the mead so now I just have to wait. I made a change to the yeast as I found some of the Lalvin D-47. My barely an HBS liquor store did not have any yeast nutrient so I just added the energizer. I am a little concerned but it was happily bubbling away (man I love glass fermenters) and the lock was going around 1 bub/5-10 sec.
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Old 07-22-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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It will probably be ok, just going to take a LONG time to ferment out.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #7
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Update: We are now fermenting at 1 bub/ 1-2 sec @ a fairly steady temp of 74F.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Naidirem View Post
Well I made the mead so now I just have to wait. I made a change to the yeast as I found some of the Lalvin D-47. My barely an HBS liquor store did not have any yeast nutrient so I just added the energizer. I am a little concerned but it was happily bubbling away (man I love glass fermenters) and the lock was going around 1 bub/5-10 sec.
You should be fine. The LD Carson yeast energizer is closer to the Lalvin Ferm-K nutrient the the LD nutrient is. It seem the Lalvin products are the most recommended products for mead. I havn't tried the nutrients yet but my next order will have them in it.

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Old 07-24-2008, 09:05 PM   #9
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If it's only been going a couple of days then you might think about adding some DAP. D47 is a nitrogen hungry little sucka! (apparently), especially early on in the ferment process.

Just my 2 cents worth


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